On 25th January, The chief minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi gave an exclusive interview in his office where talked about his visit to Bangladesh, special relation of North East India and Bangladesh and the issue of Tipaimukh dam. Details of his interview are given here.
Swadesh Roy: You have visited Bangladesh along with your Prime minister, what was your experience from the visit?
Tarun Gogoi: It was more than a successful visit. In all quarters we got a warm reaction. In spite of our scheduled meetings, I talked with the common people of Bangladesh and the elites such as justices, bureaucrats, lawyers and other professionals. We also talked with media. We could understand that, all are happy and they also need a better relationship.
Swadesh Roy: What is the outcome of the visit?
Tarun Gogoi: This is good for both the countries. Problems are there. We have to solve it. But a lot of problems are common, as Brahmaputra flow. It is a common problem of two countries. Definitely we want to solve it jointly.
Swadesh Roy: For the first time four chief minister of North East India visited Bangladesh together with your Prime Minister. Does it show that, India is thinking of a close or special relation with Bangladesh and North East India?
Tarun Gogoi: That was the main purpose; we gave the message that, we want to develop a special relation with north east India and Bangladesh.
Swadesh Roy: What kinds of transit facilities do Assam wants from Bangladesh?
Tarun Gogoi: All the connectivity, – road, water, rail connectivity. Basically we want to revive all types of connectivity which was before 1947. We also want the Chittagong, Asugang and Mongla port facilities.
Swadesh Roy: We know, Bangladesh wants a close economical relation with north east India. Is your government working in favor of it?
Tarun Gogoi: Government of India has taken some steps in favor of it. Besides that, it is for our interest. What is the transit for? Whole purpose is trade concerned. We are working for a strong and fruitful economical relation.
Swadesh Roy: Assam has more hydro electric potentiality, how Bangladesh can share it?
Tarun Gogoi: We have smaller hydro electric potentiality. Most of it is in Arunachal.
Swadesh Roy: Is it possible that, Bangladeshi business men can invest in Assam?
Tarun Gogoi: They can invest here, any investor of Bangladesh can come here and they can do any business and can invest in any sector.
Swadesh Roy: We know that, Assam had tried to set up jute mills in large scale but they failed. Do you think Bangladesh and Assam can work in Jute sector jointly?
Tarun Gogoi: I will be happy if anybody comes forward.
Swadesh Roy: If it is Bangladesh Government?
Tarun Gogoi: Definitely, if I can talk with Bangladesh Government we can go for a joint venture.
Swadesh Roy: In Assam I have seen a lot of people is against Tipaimukh Dam, Bangladesh is worried about it. What is the opinion of you on that issue?
Tarun Gogoi: Any dam has two views. Which can bring benefit for the country on the other hand it can be harmful for the country. Now we have to calculate the loss and profit of this dam. If it is profitable for country we are in favor of the dam. But comparing with profit if loss is more we are totally against the dam.
Swadesh Roy: We know that electricity is necessary for development. But people of Bangladesh are worried on dam issue- what the way to solve the matter is?
Tarun Gogoi: We want Bangladesh will involve in this dam and if any benefit comes they will have the share of it.
Swadesh Roy: What is the assessment about Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh?
Tarun Gogoi: I consider her as a most dynamic leader. She has been trying to make friendship with north east India. She also is trying to improve her country Bangladesh and her people.
Swadesh Roy: She has visited North East Indian state Tripura recently. Do you want her to visit your state?
Tarun Gogoi: We will be happy and I will be the happiest person if she visits our state.
Swadesh Roy is the Executive editor of Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He can be reached at [email protected]